Ground Report | New Delhi: Institutional murder of Ananya Kumari; The Transgender Survey Kerala (2014) reported that 54% of transgender people in Kerala earn less than ₹5000 as their monthly income, and only 11.6% have a regular job. Nearly 90% of transgender people in Kerala drop out of school due to taunts from fellow students, teachers, neighbors, and family.
Institutional murder of Ananya Kumari
The main conclusion that can be drawn from these data is that society is systematically alienating the transgender community from achieving freedom. The stigma and social exclusion they face in turn push them into poverty and lower their standard of living.
Ananya Kumari Alex was Kerala’s first transgender radio jockey, a professional make-up artist, a news anchor, and the state’s first transgender candidate for the recent assembly elections. On 20 July 2021, 28-year-old transwoman activist Ananya Kumari Alex was found dead (suicide) in her apartment in Kochi, Ernakulam. She was the first transwoman candidate from Kerala in the Legislative Assembly election; Previously a transgender RJ, makeup artist, anchor, and television news presenter.
The big picture here is the deadly layers of oppression caused by the cycle of poverty and rejection. It can only be speculated that our active ignorance of transgender rights and transgender health care is what produces such alarming statistics – it is not suicide, but an elaborate institutionalized murder.
In June 2020, Ananya underwent vaginoplasty at Renai Medicity Hospital and made serious allegations of medical negligence against Dr. Arjun Ashokan (plastic surgeon) who performed sex-reassignment surgery on her. Even a year after the surgery, she was unable to work due to severe physical pain and faced severe financial pressure. She gave an interview to The Cue a few days ago, stating that there are more people who have suffered similar medical negligence from the same doctor and refrained from coming out against him for fear of ridicule from society.
Investigation into Alex’s death
The state’s Ministry of Health and Social Justice ordered an investigation into Alex’s death. Kerala Health Minister Veena George said in a press statement that her office is setting up an expert committee “to study issues related to sex reassignment surgery”.
On Thursday, an autopsy was conducted by a two-member expert panel. The State Human Rights Commission has directed the district police to submit a final report within a month.
“There are international protocols on the treatment of transgender bodies, but cases like Alex’s show serious lapses. There are also financial interests in these surgeries. This is why trans bodies are experiments for doctors,” said Prijit PK.
What is it to be a Transgender
Most of the transgender people in Kerala live out of their homes due to gender identity issues. The Transgender Survey Kerala (2014) showed that due to social and family pressures, 70-80% of transgender people enter married life and have children, but most of them separate within a month or a year. The survey also revealed that 54% of transgender people in Kerala earn < Rs. 5000 as their monthly income, and only 11.6% have a regular job. Nearly 90% of transgender people in Kerala drop out of school due to taunts from fellow students, teachers, neighbors, and family.
In 2015, India’s Supreme Court ruled that transgender people had equal rights under the law and granted legal status to the “third gender”, giving them the right to marry and inherit property. Kerala was one of the first states to act on it and issued a state policy for transgenderism and it was highly appreciated.
While all the above activities were clearly done for the destruction and empowerment of the transgender community, the first step towards integration happened when, in 2017, the Kochi Metro Rail began to recruit transgender people to work with them in various positions in the country. became the first government agency of